How much can we know when young?

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE
DOLLY. ALDERTON
friendship, women's fiction, relationships, family
Penguin
Feb 2019

ith courageous honesty, Alderton documents the highs and the lows - the sex, the drugs, the nightmare landlords, the heartaches and the humiliations. Deeply funny, sometimes shocking, and admirably open-hearted and optimistic' Daily Telegraph

'A sensitive, astute and funny account of growing up millennial' Observer

'Alderton proves a razor-sharp observer of the shifting dynamics of long term female friendship' Mail on Sunday

'The book we will thrust into our friends' hands . . . that will help heal a broken heart. Alderton's wise words can resonate with women of all ages. She feels like a best friend and your older sister all rolled into one and her pages wrap around you like a warm hug' Evening Standard

'I loved its truth, self awareness, humour and most of all, its heart spilling generosity' Sophie Dahl

'Steeped in furiously funny accounts of one-night stands, ill-advised late-night taxi journeys up the M1, grubby flat-shares and the beauty of female friendships, as Alderton joyfully booze-cruises her way through her twenties' Metro

'It's so full of life and laughs - I gobbled up this book. Alderton has built something beautiful and true out of many fragments of daftness' Amy Liptrot

A memoir rather than an autobiography, based on truth and articles and columns previously published.

An insight (for me) into the world of the millenials and their lives as renters and users of dating apps and drinking especially.

We drank as students, of course we did, and there were some drugs about too, but I married young and so never really experienced a long period of post-uni dating. We did share though, even after marriage as we just couldn’t afford our flat without ‘lodgers’, so we turned a 2 bed flat into a 3 bed and lived without much of a lounge except when we all sat together to watch TV on one guy’s bed-sofa. As I stopped being a post-grad and started earning money our flat-mates gradually moved out – the last with a bit of a push!

This book was brutally truthful. a real soul baring of life as lived by Dolly. Her life’s highs and lows. Love and loss. And it cannot help but affect the reader.

I suspect we all recognise something of ourselves (especially women) in Dolly and it certainly made me think about myself and my behaviours and how they did or did not match up.

And thanks for the recipes, Dolly. I intend to make the ice-cream and a variant on the apple pizza one day – not the marzipan though as this would be just too sweet for our taste.

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Make India your Home?

Coming Home Book Cover Coming Home
Fern Britton
Womens' Literature, Romance , Women's Fiction, Humour
HarperCollins
February 19, 2018
400

*Preorder the gorgeous new novel from the Sunday Times best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton.* When the only place you want to be is home... When Ella's beloved grandmother dies, she comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, and new love ... But she also opens a treasure trove of secrets. Sennen left Cornwall a young single mum but unable to cope. She left her children, her family and part of her. She's spent the years hiding from her past, hiding from herself. Now it's time to come back. To Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. To hope for a future with her daughter.

I did find this a somewhat sentimental book but was warned before I started by the blurb and for some it will bring on tears.
I did like it though and enjoyed the read but did wonder if Fern had been to India as I have, as saying tuk-tuk rides were expensive is absolutely not true – they are very cheap indeed and can be made even cheaper by sharing and cramming in more people than you could ever imagine!
Certainly, the markets are very cheap but also very unhygienic – vegetables probably would be OK to eat but don’t touch the meat or fish!

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Guest Blog: Failures?

The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
Amy Lyle
Funny Memoir, family, marriage
Amy Lyle
(3 May 2017)

THE AMY BINEGAR-KIMMES-LYLE BOOK OF FAILURES is a humor memoir. If you have ever failed at love, finances, been fired, not fit in, self-diagnosed yourself with disorders and conditions and/or said, "I really need to get my s*** together," this is the book for you.

You may appreciate your own dysfunction a little more as you take a journey through Amy’s debacles including: “I Was Not Talking to You,” where Amy mistakes a handsome man waving at her as a potential suitor but in reality, he was only trying to inform her that her belt was dragging on the freeway and “In the Neighborhood,” where members of a cult moving in concurred with a suspicious decline in the cat population. You will relish the chapters entitled “Calls from Sharon,” where Amy’s best friend rants about her kids not getting a fair shot because public schools are ‘so political,’ as her OB/GYN reported her vagina was ‘too clean’ and how the most eligible bachelor from 1982 married a whore. Enjoy “I’m Going to Kill You,” where Amy compares her lack of sleep from her husband’s snoring to CIA agents extracting secrets from a POW. Feel 20-32% better about your own life after reading “Getting Divorced Sucks,” where 911 was called after Amy had an adverse reaction from taking Xanax.

The book has been featured in Scoop OTP, Georgia Followers, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Points North Atlanta Magazine, Just4Fun Radio and the WXIA-TV morning show, "Atlanta & Company.”

Ten percent of book proceeds are donated to The Place of Forsyth County, a non-profit helping people to become self-sufficient.

Now That’s Love
My book begins “I’ve been married for twenty years, not to the same people but regardless….”
I’m very pro-love and relationships. However, if you’ve never tied the knot, let me share a little of what happens AFTER you are supposed to be living your happily ever after.
That euphoric feeling of new love has similar qualities of a drug addiction: including heart palpitations, wild fantasies, lack of sleep and the vacillation between euphoria and misery eventually calms down. After being married for ten years what makes my heart race is when my
husband surprises me with a giant, gluten-filled, pack of brownies and lets me pick the Netflix movie.
It’s a challenge sleeping in the same bed and frankly, sharing a sink with another human being.
I started to ask questions I never dreamed would need to be asked:

Are those your pubic hairs in the shower soap, did you not see the pubic hairs?

Why in the world did you not rinse the soap off?

Haven’t I asked you not to chomp? You know I have misophonia (become
enraged at chomping sounds) stop chomping.

Is that oatmeal? For the love of God how does a person chomp oatmeal?

You bought a reciprocating saw and you’re upset that I bought strappy sandals?
Would you not agree that both are useful?

Did you just put sauce on my fish? That’s adding one million calories, why would you do that?

I told kid number two NOT to go out; she has a D in psychology. Why did you allow her to go out? I’m always the bad cop. Do you think that’s fair?

Do you? Do you? Do you?

Even when you love a person, the day to day responsibilities and routines can wear on your last nerves. But, having someone you trust and know in and out has its advantages.
You no longer freak out if he/she doesn’t reply to your text in less than three seconds.
In social settings, you have a secret language and understand what it means when your husband/wife says “Excuse me for a minute, I must have left my glasses at the table.” It’s code for “The guy talking is full of dog s*** “ so I need to exit immediately, or I will stab him with the tiny umbrella from your pina colada.
If a serial killer came crashing into your bedroom, they would do everything possible to save you over saving themselves.
If you’re lucky, you find a person that thinks you’re attractive in the morning, offers you ice water when you’re sick and laughs at all of your jokes.

These are the reasons people stay married. Now you know.

About the Author

Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor and screenwriter who works as a playwright for a large nonprofit in Alpharetta, Ga. Obsessed with fellow female comedians, Amy developed a writing style that is self-deprecating, hilarious and slightly neurotic.

Although she describes her book, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures, as a “how not to” book, her message of “You are not a failure, you’re just having a little bit of trouble right now” is prompting people to share how the book made them feel (#bookoffailures), including the relief of knowing they are not alone in the world of missteps. Fan posts of people reading the book have been popping up from all over the world, including Lake Como, Italy, Amsterdam and The Great Wall of China.

The funny memoir, dealing with everything from getting fired to trying to blend a family, has been described as relatable and authentic, while sparking conversations about how we all handle failure.

The author has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Points North magazine and the WXIA-TV morning show, “Atlanta & Company,” in addition to writing a monthly column for My Forsyth magazine.

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When plans go awry

Best Laid Plans Book Cover Best Laid Plans
Kathy Lette
humour, family, contemporary
Black Swan
(8 Feb. 2018)

TO DO LIST
1) Buy hummus
2) Pay Pilates teacher
3) Find prostitute for son...

When it comes to sex, even the best laid plans come unstuck – in the stickiest way possible

As a crossword-addicted English teacher, Lucy never expected to be arrested for kerb-crawling. But her autistic twenty-year-old son Merlin is desperate to lose his virginity, and a prostitute seems like the only option . . . only Lucy picks up an undercover policewoman instead.

Let off with a suspended sentence, Lucy resigns herself to the fact that her son will never have sex, let alone find love… until the morning she miraculously discovers Merlin in bed with a girl.

But is tough, tattooed Kayleigh just taking Merlin for a ride? If so, why? And what has brought Lucy’s snake of an ex-husband wriggling back into their lives?

As all her best laid plans for Merlin’s happiness chaotically unravel, will Lucy ever be able to cut her son’s psychological umbilical cord and start to live her own life? And will the funny, quirky and marvellously magical Merlin ever find real love?

With plenty of comic twists and emotional turns, Kathy Lette’s riotous yet heartrending novel tackles the taboo subject of sex for the ‘differently abled’ – and shows us that when it comes to sex, we all have special needs …

A roller coaster ride for the reader of emotions – from empathy to astonishment to incredulity. And even laughter. But the humour is often dark.

Autism is always a challenge for the carers especially as it is often accompanied by other issues as so well portrayed here, including the inability to judge the appropriate behaviour in social situations.

Loved the book.

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Thriving in a different world?

To be honest this book disappointed me.

I had thought that it might contain something new or something researched in depth.

However, it was a series of (mostly) very short chapters on topics where I already knew just about everything that was suggested - it was for me, a superficial look at areas that were too broad for a serious look at how to thrive in our current society and world cultures.

Take for instance the chapter on shopping for food.

It is already well known that pesticides and herbicides are bad for our health. That we should use local farmer's markets. That we should think about food miles - although we must also factor in economics for the producing country when doing this. That organic tastes better - try drinking organic milk - or even better if you can find it - raw milk.  that not all organic is completely organic - the law permits a small percentage of non-organic (think wind drift). etc etc.

I grow as nearly organically as I can. I buy organic vegetables and meat. I use farmer's markets. I buy organic hand wash and so on. So what did I have to learn?

Although it did contain references at the back, I would have liked to have seen some suggestions of further reading in each chapter ending. And it was US biased - the debate is different in Europe and the UK of course.

I'm afraid, that I ended up putting my academic hat when reading it as it struck me as being a rather self-indulgent student project that lacked sufficient rigour to be of much use unless you were completely new to each and every area discussed. Which, in general, the people who would read such a book are not. It was clear that some chapters enthused Kamea - eg the food chapter more than others as they were not equally researched or discussed in depth.

So , for me overall, it was  2, but for anyone new to any of these areas, then a 3 might be a more appropriate rating.

 

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